NFB Re-Watches Battlestar Galactica Season Four: “Blood On The Scales”

Spoils of war

Air Date: 06/02/2009

Director: Wayne Rose

Writer: Michael Angeli

Synopsis: The future of Galactica and the Fleet hangs in the balance as the mutiny proceeds, with Gaeta attempting to make Adama face justice for his supposed crimes. Zarek moves to end the democratic opposition, while Roslin pleads with the Cylons to stand with the Admiral.

Review

This is going to be a long one, but it has to be. This might be my favourite episode of the re-watch so far, looking with a more critical eye. It’s hard to find any fault with “Blood On The Scales”: as a concluding part of a two-part story, as a character study, as an action set-piece and as a very dense but always entertaining piece of television. The BSG team cram an enormous amount of stuff into these 42ish minutes, and not a moment is wasted. It’s an episode that almost has me on my feet and cheering at parts of the conclusion, and that is a rare thing.

The mutiny continues, and pandemonium continues to reign: made brilliantly clear when Romo Lampkin tells Thrace in one scene his marine guard was shot at twice in their journey, once by his own side. I talked about it in “The Oath” of course, but that sense of pandemonium is crucial to “Blood On The Scales”: danger is literally around every corner, no one can be trusted, up is down and black is white. The collapse of Season Four is manifest in the moment Sam gets a random bullet in the neck: everything, right down to the barest trace of military discipline, has fallen apart.

But out of this anarchy comes order and salvation. Bit by bit, things start to turn on the mutineers, and it happens so gradually that I am surprised watching back to see how patient the writers were. It’s in the fact that the engine room remains untaken; in Kelly’s defection; in Hot Dog’s refusal to follow Gaeta’s orders; in how the major players of the mutiny, from Seelix to Conor, are no longer to be seen; in the rescue of Adama from his firing squad; in the decision to help a wounded person instead of running away; in how some of the Fleet refuses to follow along. “The Oath” gave an impression that the mutineers were larger than they were, but “Blood On The Scales” corrects the record.

I just adore the finale here, as Adama walks – walks, not runs – back to the CIC, with a mass of crewmembers and civilians appearing behind him, pilots, deck crew, marines, retaking their ship. The resistance melts away in front of this popular demonstration of Adama’s authority and legitimacy. Gaeta’s paralysis helps of course, but the power of that image, of Adama re-taking the CIC and doing so without firing a shot, is very, very important. The mutineers caught a lot of people by surprise and did a lot of damage, but they were the minority it seemed: the majority of the people on Galactica backed Adama when push came to shove, and the demonstration of that loyalty and faith is a deeply cathartic moment after what occurred in “The Oath”. And the cost that has already been seen, in the lives of men like Laird and the damage taken by men like Anders: it means more because it was not an easy won thing. But even as we know the aftermath will be difficult, complex, we can rejoice in a brief shining moment when anarchic violence was stopped in its tracks.

The man at the centre of everything is Felix Gaeta, and his story in “Blood On The Scales” is a question of just how far he is willing to go. He removed himself from the hard reality of what was happening in “The Oath” and that removal continues here, as he stays mostly in the CIC or in the Admiral’s quarters, and struggles to reconcile his idealistic beliefs with what his actions have helped to create. The butchering of the Quorum is the real tipping point: beyond Laird, and Adama’s resistance and the recognition that the mutiny had become a far bloodier thing than he wanted, it is this that really shows to Gaeta that Zarek’s part in things means his grand vision cannot come into being. He’s utterly disgusted by the scene, and we can well believe that his sense of shock is so acute that it takes a while for him to truly understand what it means.

He does try to keep the train on the tracks. He insists in a trial for Adama, over the objections of Zarek, even if the resulting proceedings are a total farce. He takes up the mantle of a “Commander”, and he keeps those Admiral pips with him from the moment Adama hands them over to the moment the mutiny ends. But it’s all a lie: the trial makes a mockery of Gaeta’s well-honed sense of moral righteousness noted in “The Face Of The Enemy” (especially when Adama just won’t conform to Gaeta’s view on his alleged crimes), and the pips are a burning reminder of everything that Gaeta simply is not. And, focused in on nearer the conclusion, that endlessly itching stump serves to remind Gaeta that even if he went into the endeavour with the purest of motives and the best of intentions, what has occurred is no longer worthy of him.

The reckoning comes, and Gaeta chooses to do the only thing he can do to end the prospect of a Zarek tyranny and continuing bloodshed, and stands down, deciding against a bloody shoot-out to defend the CIC. Our final moments with Gaeta reveal a man, similar to the more relaxed person we saw in parts of “Final Cut”, who is coming to peace with himself, wistful about roads not travelled and making what amends that he can make with the people who have, for good or bad, been an important part of his life. He’s always had visions that outpaced his ability to achieve them, whether it was his childhood drawings of fantastical buildings or the idea of a forced transfer of power that wouldn’t become a chaotic mess. Now, at the end, his worries removed and his part in proceedings coming to a conclusion, he’s able to puta aside that drive, the moral crusade.

His final line I think reflects this acceptance: the itching of the stump finally stops. We can view that many ways. It’s the acceptance of punishment, the release of the emotional bile that accompanied the amputation and a redemption of his soul owing to his surrender. The tragedy is that it takes his death via firing squad for this moment to come. Felix Gaeta, as I have talked abut before, is a fine example of what long-form story-telling can do with a seemingly minor character, and Alessandro Juliani deserves all the praise in the world for what he accomplishes with the character in “The Oath” and “Blood On The Scales”.

Our real villain pf the piece is Zarek. I’ve been torn for years about his depiction in “Blood On The Scales” where the moral ambiguity represented by the mutiny gets torn asunder by his decision to wipe out the government, which I’ve often thought didn’t do justice to the Zarek character. But I think maybe that was an overly-harsh judgement. Zarek does display a ruthless streak in this episode, above and beyond anything we have seen before, but I think it fits to a certain degree: this is Zarek tantalising close to everything he has ever wanted, and willing to do whatever it takes to push the last bit of the way.

We have to remember that this is a man who has spent decades in a cell, and a few years afterwards embroiled in the political struggles of the Fleet. Now, he nearly has the biggest position left to humanity, and the drive to get that brings out his own self-serving determination in an explosive way, especially when he sees that the partner he has hitched himself to has some weaknesses. This is why Zarek attempts to take control of the military himself at the conclusion of the episode, even if his flailing efforts to do so would be comical if the the situation wasn’t so serious: it shows he and Gaeta have no long-term potential for a successful partnership. He’s always wanted to be “the man with the guns”, ever since “Home (Part One)” and he’ll step on whomever he has to get it. Doing some stepping wasn’t practical before, it didn’t serve his interests. Now it does.

Hence why he chooses to forgo the “man of the people” schtick and democracy entirely and kill the Quorum when they refuse to bend to his will, demonstrating the kind of brutal “last man standing” type of chaos the Fleet would head into under his command (and provides an able contrast to the controversial, but fundamentally more stable, leadership of Roslin and Adama). This is the action of a dictator, pure and simple, and we can well imagine that any scenario where Zarek ends up on top will not be one that features a return to representative democracy. In essence, “Blood On The Scales” shows Zarek’s true colours, and while that might be frustrating to those who have sympathised with his position down the years – and I certainly have at points – I don’t think it is too out of line anymore. At the end of the day, Zarek is a political extremist who has been caught up in murder and other dodgy dealings before: this is just the extreme end of it.

At the conclusion of things Zarek really has nothing: a President in name only, powerless to prevent his own defeat, and falling back on lies and subterfuge to try and get his own way. He twice claims that people who are still alive to oppose him are dead in “Blood On The Scales”, and twice it backfires: it’s hard not to think that Zarek is trying to imagine a better situation for him into existence. Like a petulant child not getting his way, he tries to become both President and Commander at the conclusion, to no effect. He doesn’t get a final interview as Gaeta did – more below on that – and in a way this is a suitable meta punishment for a character who has always wanted the spotlight, ever since we first met him in “Bastille Day”, and has always been able to use his words to good effect.

Opposed against them is Adama, though in many ways he is only a small part of the episodes’ drama. His major part of the arc was in “The Oath”: here Adama can be seen more as a symbol, an unbreakable representation of legitimate command who refuses to play along with Gaeta’s attempt at a trial and rises to re-take his position of power at the conclusion. Adama’s part of the story is far more interesting for the sudden and surprising involvement of Romo Lampkin, a character the show keeps finding interesting things for.

For all of his snark – and boy does Lampkin have some great lines in that regard as he pours scorn over the “field trip for justice” Gaeta and Zarek want to take him on – Romo does have a sense, and respect, for the law. Being involved in this manner of kangaroo court is an insult to him, and he has no problems with making this clear, even with a literal gun to his head. He understands that what is happening is just a ridiculous show, and that his usual skill at reading human behaviour, demonstrated as recently as “Sine Qua Non”, gets him nothing. So he does the only thing someone in his position can do and desperately plays for time, encouraging Adama to write a statement protesting his innocence, not because it will save him, but because Lampkin knows there are loyalists on the ship getting ready to make their move. It’s a smart idea, but runs into Adama’s steadfast resolve to have no engagement with the proceedings.

In the end Zarek puts an end to it all, and Lampkin is escorted away to what is a very uncertain fate: neither Zarek nor Gaeta would have much reason to be friendly to him after the events of Baltar’s trial. Lampkin takes his moment and brutally kills the marine guarding him, in a fashion that really underlines the insanity of the larger situation: here we have the epitome of the Fleet’s nascent legal system stabbing someone to death with a pen.

From there, Lampkin is suddenly presented with an absolutely vital choice in terms of the themes and meta-narrative of the story. He can turn and run, try and find shelter from the insanity, and survive. Or, he can help Starbuck get Anders medical attention, though the effort will expose him to potentially even greater risk. Lampkin is a cynical, realistic guy, and when he first refuses this call for help it is perfectly in keeping with everything we have learned about the man so far. Lampkin looks out for himself, and has little trust in the decency of humans: not after he left his family to die in the Colonies, not after his cat was murdered.

But then he reconsiders, comes back and helps drag Anders to safety. Ahead of Adama making his last stand and re-taking the ship in a more outward show of strength, this moment is the signifier that things have turned again on Galactica. It’s a moment of selfless humanity that comes in anarchic surrounds: Lampkin doesn’t even know Anders or Starbuck, but chooses to help anyway. In choosing to help, Lampkin comes to represent a rejection of Zarek’s violent dog-eat-dog manner of doing things, and Gaeta’s elitist tendency to direct violence from far away. Like the choice that Roslin made to save Baltar in “The Hub”, it’s a sign that humanity, for all of its demonstrable faults and sins, is still worth something. Maybe even worth saving.

Even with all of that, “Blood On The Scales” has time for plenty more. A mini-drama that could have taken up its own episode plays out on the Cylon bayship, as Roslin pleads for help and the rebels consider abandoning the Fleet. There’s a lot at play here that makes this sub-plot wonderful of its own accord: the fear of the Cylons that they are about to become victims of the mutiny; the role that Tory plays as a dissident, encouraging the Cylons to leave; Roslin’s desperation in trying to contact the Fleet, that becomes nearly pathetic; Leoben making the choice to help the President, having essentially run away from so much in “Sometimes A Great Notion”.

It’s only a few minutes of the episode but it adds a whole lot, with one of its most important aspects being the continued resuscitation of the Roslin character. By the end of “Blood On The Scales” she has been well and truly roused from the nihilistic viewpoint she has been meshed in since the discovery of Earth, and she briefly becomes almost Godlike near the conclusion as she bellows a denunciation and threat to the mutineers over the radio. That’s how much she loves Adama and that’s how much, despite what she says, she still cares about the safety and future of the Fleet.

Baltar too has a role to play on the basyship, though it is a distant ethereal one that has little impact on the rest of the episode really. He sleeps with one of the Six’s – named Lida by the writers apparently – but in the aftermath comes to the conclusion that he now bears a responsibility for the Cultists who so revere him, even if he has nothing but scorn for them in many ways. It is a moment of important growth for Baltar, put against the cowardice he displayed in “The Oath”. He determines that he has to go back to Galactica, and it seemed like this was set-up for Baltar to go and do that then and there, but of course he doesn’t. This is set-up for future events of course, but I’ll admit it was a tad unsatisfying here – a connection to the main plot is drawn clumsily with a vision of Adama being shot, to no real plot purpose – and all of this is perhaps the only part of “Blood On The Scales” that I could call weak. Less so is the compassion he shows towards Gaeta at the conclusion, another immensely strong scene, that follows on from his half-visit to Gaeta in the medbay in “Guess What’s Coming To Dinner?”.

The last plot I want to talk about is that involving Tyrol. He’s on a mission in “Blood On The Scales”, though it might not be immediately apparent what that mission is. Crawling through the underbelly of Galactica, he’s separate to the rest of the action, at least until he suddenly runs into Kelly.

The truth is that I could probably write a whole review focused just on Kelly, who gets his most prominent role in the entire series in this episode. He starts out as what seems to be an out-and-out mutineer, helping to arrest Adama and Tigh and bringing them to their fate. But, bit-by-bit, it all starts to change. Kelly’s crime in “The Son Also Rises” was not aimed at Adama, or the military, he was clear about that. We don’t get to see just how Gaeta recruited him, and it’s possible he’s gone along with the mutiny more because he it sprung him from the brig than anything else. Standing by while the Quorum gets slaughtered probably wasn’t in the pitch. His loyalty to the military comes out when he encounters Tyrol, someone he was once friends with and who he can’t bring himself to shoot or arrest. The two have a very human moment where they can’t help but laugh at the ridiculous circumstances they now find themselves in: having once been respected members of Galactica’s crew – who, with Kelly’s role as an LSO, would presumably have worked closely together – one is now a Cylon trying to disable the ship, and the other is a fugitive trying to overthrow its leadership.

That’s all she wrote for Kelly really. In a private moment he collapses in the memorial hallway, surrounded by the images of those dead that he knew, and he comes to understand that he can’t just go along with what Gaeta and Zarek are trying to do. His respect for Adama, and the military, and everything they have all sacrificed up to this point, is too large. When given the opportunity, Kelly switches sides, and redeems himself in saving Adama from a firing squad. We don’t get to find out what this means for Kelly long-term, as this is his last appearance in the show. But I like to think that his actions here prove his worth, and that he is able to resume his previous life on Galactica. Kelly’s arc through “Blood On The Scales” is another example of how great the episode is at packing so much in to such a limited timeframe, and proves the point again about what a standout episode it is.

Back with Tyrol though, we eventually realise his mission is to sabotage the FTL drive of the ship, something he just about manages to accomplish before Gaeta and Zarek divide the Fleet. But in so doing he discovers something that inspires dread: what seems to be deep structural damage to Galactica. The ship has been banged up plenty since the Miniseries and beyond, with the damage it sustained in “Exodus (Part Two)” probably enough to condemn it in normal circumstances. But this is the first moment when we might realise that this damage goes beyond the superficial scars on the exterior. Rents like this in the ships interior bode nothing good, and it’s a grim and fateful image to leave off on. Adama has managed to prevent the capture of Galactica by those who would have terminated his command and brought the Fleet in a radically different direction: but the healing from this fight will be hard enough before we consider the possibility that Galactica itself may not be saveable.

I will use every cannon, every bomb, every bullet, every weapon I have down to my own teeth to end you.

Notes

-The title is apropos, given the episodes focus on the idea of justice. Gaeta wants Adama to face that, but Zarek destroys what scrap of legitimacy they have in murdering the Quorum.

-Tigh seems to indicate that Kelly has been kept imprisoned on Galactica since “The Son Also Rises”, describing him as “the brig rat”.

-You have to appreciate Hot Dog’s intelligence as he pursues the Raptor, stalling for time by flying through the Fleet. He knows something is wrong here, though we never find out what happens to him afterward.

-Narcho’s missiles nail the baystar, which seems significant given how much damage it is still recovering from.

-I suppose it is fitting that the Cylons are panicked in this moment, and openly debate abandoning the Fleet. They’re the last of their kind in a wrecked ship: you don’t get much more vulnerable.

-Roslin is firmly back in charge though. She’s President again properly, telling the Cylons what to do and leading. It’s great to see.

-Amazing moment when Adama throws the word “Admiral” back in Gaeta’s face: “You’re the Admiral now”.

-Even better, Adama follows up by suggesting Gaeta demand things of Roslin instead of him: “Make her laugh”. Gaeta immediately looks like an impudent child in the middle of the CIC.

-The count is down 40, reflecting the bloody nature of the mutiny. There’s more to come.

-An interesting choice, having Zarek telling bawdy jokes with a gleeful Racetrack as he boards Galactica. I suppose we’re meant to take it that Zarek is comfortable in a crisis (and that Racetrack is a bit of a suck-up).

-Tigh grimly suggests that Gaeta may be planning to relieve Anders of a leg. In fairness, Sam has never been called to account for that act, and if he had been all of this might have been avoided.

-The quiet of Galactica’s hallways in early scenes, deserted of people, adds to the tense atmosphere. These are dangerous paths now, and people are hunkering down.

-Romo Lampkin arrives onboard, looking a tad more dishevelled than usual, but still the same sarcastic man: “I don’t suppose anyone’s gonna feed my dog?”

-Zarek outlines the charges Adama is facing and the sentence of death by firing squad. Romo is deadpan in response: “Well, I’m not a very good shot”.

-Romo refers to his marine guards as “Wynken and Blinken” in this scene, which is another anachronistic flub: it’s a reference to a 19th century Dutch lullaby.

-Lampkin knows he’s in danger here, but can’t help but skewer the proceedings when Zarek declares himself judge and jury: “We’ve run out of ship’s captains?”

-The Admiral pips, that Gaeta is seen fingering in this scene, work well as a totem. It’s what Gaeta aspires to but can’t ever properly attain: we might also remember that they were offered directly from Roslin to Adama, in “Resurrection Ship (Part Two)”, so have a meaning that way too.

-The musical suite that plays throughout the episode is “Blood On The Scales” and, while lacking the memorability of other pieces is another effective Bear McCreary blend of drums, violins and esoteric instruments.

-Zarek’s pitch to the Quorum is weak for him. He basically flat-out asks them to endorse the mutiny and his assumption of the Presidency in one go, without any indication of what has happened to Adama and Roslin. He has misjudged his own persuasiveness in this moment.

-As is made clear when “Mr Vice-President” is asked to leave the room. Not President.

-Zarek considers it for a short moment, but is resolved and ruthless: “Shoot them”. In this moment it becomes clear he has fostered his own relationships among the military, since his orders are carried out without hesitation.

-Gaeta is horrified by what has occurred, and even if he won’t admit it he knows in this moment that his movement has lost: “We had the truth on our side. Now…”

-Cool shot of Tyrol crawling through the bowels of Galactica, the camera zooming in as he goes.

-Tory seems to be acting as a spokesperson for the Cylons on the bayship. Are we to take it that she is now moving into some kind of leadership role, absent the other Five and with D’Anna gone?

-Roslin’s argument is a persuasive one. In “A Disquiet Follows My Soul” Tyrol argued that the Cylons placed a large respect on Adama’s oath, now Roslin reminds them that it’s worth betting on Adama since he’ll remember who ran and who helped him.

-Gotta love Tyrol’s half-joking efforts to pull one over on Kelly: “Long live the revolution”

-Love that the two just devolve into mindless laughter as they contemplate the situation they are in. It’s perfect, like Adama and Tigh laughing at each other in “The Passage”.

-The two briefly reminisce about Cally: “Could have told you she was trouble”. Did Kelly know something about Cally the Chief didn’t?

-The Six on the bayship asks Baltar “Are you injured?” and it is hard not to think of the repeated “Are you alive?” question of previous episodes.

-Do we need Starbuck to be duel-wielding pistols? She did that in “Sacrifice” as I recall, and it was a bit stupid then too.

-The episode needs some stakes, and gets those when Sam gets shot in the neck. The scene is chaos defined: it’s just a random pot-shot from someone ducking around a corner, and all is confusion in the aftermath as everyone just starts screaming at each other.

-Gaeta’s line of “questioning” in the court-martial is interesting. He harps on about the abandonment of New Caprica, but the chief mutineer has plenty of reason to feel guilt about what happened there himself. Is he, even here, trying to get Adama to conform to his view of that period?

-Gotta love Lampkin attempting to do his job, calling out “Objection” as Gaeta badgers Adama. Zarek isn’t interested of course.

-Why does Zarek lie about Tigh being dead? Does he think this will break Adama? He’s just going to shoot him anyway after all. Like Gaeta, Zarek seems like he is slipping into delusion.

-Zarek, almost mercifully, brings the sham of a trial to a conclusion by just declaring Adama guilty. Lampkin is brutal in his response: “This isn’t a trial, this is an asylum”.

-It’s in this moment I feel, as Zarek gets physical with Lampkin and Adama gives his final rejection of the proceedings, that Gaeta really realises how bad things have gotten. Fingering those pips again, he knows he’s not as worthy of them as he thought.

-Leoben provides the radio Roslin needs to broadcast to the Fleet, and the way the scene is framed it seemed like the radio was meant to be a call-back to something. Maybe his broadcasts to the Fleet in “Flesh And Bone”?

-Romo stabs his guard to death with, of course, a pen. Is this the same one he stole from Baltar, or are we to infer that he has quietly pocketed it during the trial proceedings?

-He also makes sure to take his sunglasses back from the marine. Can’t leave without them.

-Gaeta notes that there are 35 ships in the Fleet, ten of which are refusing to follow his orders. The number of ships in the Fleet has been inconsistent: in “Home (Part One)” it was stated there were over 70, and it’s hard to imagine half of them being lost since then without a comparable loss in population.

-Gaeta asks Narcho “Can I count on you?” as he orders a firing squad assembled, and you just know that this statement is riddled with self-doubt.

-Like that shot of Adama being marched down the hallway, as BSG again breaks briefly from the cinema verite.

-I just love this moment when Kelly breaks off from the guard party and collapses in the memorial hallway. He said in “The Son Also Rises” that his actions were motivated by the memory of all the people he sent out to die, and here they all are again.

-Kelly makes his choice in a resounding cry: “I’m coming with you!” Always gives me chills.

-Baltar’s vision confuses me. It isn’t like he is really in a position to do anything about Adma being shot.

-I also don’t really get why we need to see Baltar in bed with a Six, again. It adds very little to the episode.

-Baltar waxes lyrical about how he now has responsibility for his followers. I suppose we will see where this leads, but it could be an interesting new avenue for Baltar to actually become a leader, as opposed to pretending to be one.

-I don’t know if I should look too much into the sight of Adama being put in a chair for his execution. I suppose given my background I associate the image with James Connolly’s execution.

-Gaeta tries, and fails, to make himself at home in the Admiral’s quarters. He’s framed as looking very small in the space, and uncomfortable too.

-In what we could call a last desperate effort to put a stamp on the mutiny and flag his spirit, Gaeta orders the execution to go ahead. A great cut follows where we see Narcho taking the call at gunpoint.

-Narcho’s justification of his part in the mutiny is striking. For him it’s just about his desire to fight the Cylons, not necessarily a bitterness towards Adama, and it’s probably the most honest enunciation of the mutineers cause seen in the two-parter. That honesty might be why Adama spares him.

-Our look at Gaeta’s stump here is fairly horrid. It’s definitely not in a good state.

-Roslin’s speech is something else near the conclusion, with a bellowed “I am coming for all of you!”

-This is our first look at Galactica’s FTL drive, and it’s hard to really get a sense of it. Why would it need to move like it is some kind of enormous piston?

-I just love this march towards the CIC, and the varied group of people who all assemble behind Adama. Lampkin wasn’t kidding.

-The last step in the breach between Zarek and Gaeta becomes evident here, as the “President” upbraids Gaeta for not being around, and later tries to give orders. It’s all become a mess.

-In the crucial moment, Gaeta remembers his potent conversation with Starbuck in “A Disquiet Follows My Soul”, and begins to understand what he really meant: “One day soon there’s going to be a reckoning”

-The CIC is re-taken quickly, and without bloodshed in contrast to Gaeta’s takeover.

-Going by the timestamps that populate the two-parter, the mutiny begins and is put down roughly in the space of just six or so hours.

-At first it might not be clear what the rents in Galactica mean, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s something to do with the FTL drive sabotage. But no, these are older, and more meaningful, than that.

-Adama and Roslin get a verbal reunion this time, and it is a fairly joyous one at that. The story at least has this unadulterated happy ending.

-Gaeta’s memories of his childhood dreams are interesting. Top-heavy buildings that look like food indicate that this was a person who always had dreams he couldn’t really fulfil. But now, happy to face the consequences, he is at peace. The bitterness is gone.

-Gaeta pours some coffee for Baltar dubbing it the “spoils of war”, and I realise it must be the same coffee Adama offered Tigh at the start of “The Oath”.

-Gaeta hopes people know who he is, presumably more than just a mutineer. Baltar offers the only comfort he has left: “I know who you are Felix”. The bromance between these two has never been explored in depth, but I liked where it was left off.

-Richard Hatch wasn’t hugely pleased with where things were left with Zarek, who lacks a final interview ala Gaeta. I think he has a point: it would have been interesting to get a final perspective, or even justification, from the character. Oh well.

-Is it notable that Gaeta is being executed in his full uniform? That might just have been a production choice I suppose, but it’s interesting to think on why Adama would allow that.

-Gaeta and Zarek share one last smile as they wait for death. It’s pretty much all they can do, and I suppose it serves as a reconciliation of sorts for the two. Even here there is some form of healing.

-How brilliant is the delivery of Gaeta’s last words? “…It stopped” is up there with Roslin’s “…Earth” in “Revelations”.

-“Blood On The Scales” ends with a sudden, sharp “Fire!” and a sounding of guns before we go to blackout, which is about as appropriate a conclusion as you can imagine for this story. The kinetic aspect of it is remarkable, you almost feel the kick of those rifles.

Overall Verdict: I think that “Blood On The Scales” might be my new favourite episode of the show, and even if not it has to stand with the other top tier entries. There’s so much good here, in performance, writing, music, pacing, tension and meaningful story progression, put against a few superfluous plot beats in the negative column. I don’t know if the show is about to go off the rails, but “Blood On The Scales” caps what has been an excellent run of episodes over the last while.

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7 Responses to NFB Re-Watches Battlestar Galactica Season Four: “Blood On The Scales”

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